US mid-morning: Stocks gain as trade deficit shrinks

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - US trade deficit falls more than expected
- Wholesale inventories decline
- LinkedIn surges after topping forecasts

Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI - news) : 13,995 (+0.37%)
Nasdaq: 3,194 (+0.91%)
S&P 500: 1,517 (+0.50%)

Wall Street indices opened with moderate gains on Friday on the back of better-than-expected trade data from the US and China, while the Nasdaq rose nearly one per cent due to strength in the tech sector.

However, trading volumes for S&P 500 stocks were down 15% on the 30-day average, according to Bloomberg, as the north-east coast of America braces for a huge storm this weekend.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX - news) told the news agency that "it's business as usual"; this follows the two-day closure on Wall Street when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City back in October.

Trade data could lead to upwards revision in Q4 GDP

The US trade deficit shrank by 20.7% month-on-month in December from $48.6bn to $38.5bn, reflecting a surge in the oil balance as exports of 'black gold' rise and imports fall, which could lead to a large upwards revision to the preliminary estimate for fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP). The consensus estimate was for a fall to just $46.0bn.

Following the data, analyst Peter Newland from Barclays Research revised up its estimate for US GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 from -0.1% to +0.6%; however this was trimmed after weaker-than-expected wholesale inventories figures released shortly after.

Wholesale inventories fell by 0.1% month-on-month in December, missing the 0.4% increase expected by analysts. With November's figures being revised lower, Newland reduced his US fourth-quarter GDP tracking growth estimate to +0.3%.

Markets across Europe were making gains today after China's trade surplus came in ahead of forecasts, with both imports and exports jumping in January. The trade surplus fell by less than expected from $31.6bn to $29.2bn, above the $26.6bn forecast.

Moody's falls despite Q4 profits surge

Credit ratings group Moody's tanks early on despite seeing profits jump 66% in the fourth quarter, as it continues to be hampered by the Justice Department lawsuit against rival Standard & poor's.

Social network group LinkedIn surged today after profits surged 66% and revenues jumped 81% in the fourth quarter, with both figures beating estimates. The company's CEO hailed 2012 as a "transformational year".

Video game firm Activision Blizzard (NasdaqGS: ATVI - news) jumped after unveiling record earnings in 2012 that beat its own guidance.


S&P 500 - Risers
Microchip Technology Inc (NasdaqGS: MCHP - news) . (MCHP) $36.78 +8.38%
Seagate Technology Plc (STX (KSE: 011810.KS - news) ) $36.14 +4.03%
Pioneer Natural Resources Co (NYSE: PXD - news) . (PXD) $128.57 +3.24%
Adobe Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: ADBE - news) . (ADBE) $39.22 +3.02%
Apartment Investment & Management Co. (AIV) $28.39 +2.97%
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $48.98 +2.90%
Analog Devices Inc (NasdaqGS: ADI - news) . (ADI) $45.58 +2.69%
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $102.62 +2.58%
Applied Materials Inc (NasdaqGS: AMAT - news) . (AMAT) $13.64 +2.56%
Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: MPC - news) (MPC (KOSDAQ: 050540.KQ - news) ) $81.02 +2.53%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Moody's Corp. (MCO) $45.19 -3.83%
Republic Services Inc (NYSE: RSG - news) . (RSG) $30.75 -3.42%
First Solar Inc (Xetra: A0LEKM - news) . (FSLR) $30.23 -2.84%
Apollo Group Inc (NasdaqGS: APOL - news) . (APOL) $20.01 -2.79%
Alpha Natural Res (ANR) $8.28 -2.70%
Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH) $89.55 -2.27%
Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE: JNPR - news) . (JNPR) $21.96 -1.83%
Best Buy Co. Inc (NYSE: BBY - news) . (BBY) $15.32 -1.67%
Corning Inc (NYSE: GLW - news) . (GLW) $12.13 -1.54%
Intuit Inc (NasdaqGS: INTU - news) . (INTU) $61.36 -1.43%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $16.72 +1.70%
Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $57.88 +1.45%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $27.65 +1.35%
Intel Corp. (INTC) $21.07 +1.23%
Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT - news) . (CAT (Taiwan OTC: 4990.TWO - news) ) $97.15 +1.08%
3M Co. (MMM) $103.20 +0.96%
Cisco Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: CSCO - news) . (CSCO) $21.29 +0.92%
McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $95.43 +0.85%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM (NYSE: IBM - news) ) $201.41 +0.84%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $66.84 +0.80%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . (BA) $76.69 -0.95%
Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $78.57 -0.70%
Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE - news) . (PFE) $26.83 -0.47%
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) $11.79 -0.42%
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $38.77 -0.36%
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $44.38 -0.18%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) $13.19 +9.41%
Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP) $36.78 +8.38%
Seagate Technology Plc (STX) $36.14 +4.03%
Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) $39.22 +3.02%
Western Digital Corp. (WDC) $48.98 +2.90%
Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) $45.58 +2.69%
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $102.62 +2.58%
Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) $13.64 +2.56%
Dollar Tree Stores Inc. (DLTR) $40.39 +2.51%
Biogen Idec Inc (NasdaqGS: BIIB - news) . (BIIB) $164.32 +2.51%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Nuance Communications Inc (NasdaqGS: NUAN - news) . (NUAN) $19.88 -19.02%
Intuit Inc. (INTU) $61.36 -1.43%
Stericycle Inc (NasdaqGS: SRCL - news) . (SRCL) $96.88 -1.33%
Liberty Global Inc (NasdaqGS: LBTYA - news) . Series A (LBTYA) $67.33 -1.09%
CH Robinson Worldwide Inc (NasdaqGS: CHRW - news) (CHRW) $59.37 -0.93%
Virgin Media Inc (NasdaqGS: VMED - news) . (VMED) $45.71 -0.73%
Fossil Inc (NasdaqGS: FOSL - news) . (FOSL) $105.06 -0.69%
Akamai Technologies Inc (NasdaqGS: AKAM - news) . (AKAM) $35.04 -0.62%
KLA-Tencor Corp. (KLAC) $56.47 -0.56%
Micron Technology Inc (NasdaqGS: MU - news) . (MU) $7.70 -0.39%

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